Church Acoustics

Solving Sound System problems only Acoustics can fix.

  • Sponsored by

    Ph # 519-582-4443
    email: jdb@jdbsound.com


    Successfully turning the most complicated, hostile and hardest acoustical spaces into the best sounding worship spaces in the world one church at a time.

  • Archives

  • Contact information of JdB Sound Acoustics qr code

    link to jdbsound.com

The Rabbit Hole

Posted by jdbsound on September 11, 2018

red-pill-blue-pill-Recovered

How good is your worship experience?  Sound Systems play a large part of the picture.  The sound system is used 100% of the time in most churches.  That include streaming, hearing impaired systems and recording of the worship program.  However, a sound system broadcasting live sound to the audience can only perform as well as the room allows it.  Sure, getting the latest and best State of the Art Technology in sound does sometimes gain you a slightly better level of performance but how good can a sound system be?

If we do a check list of all the things a sound system is supposed to do, most churches that don’t have any acoustical treatment only get about 50 to 60% out of their sound system’s performance regardless of the quality of the equipment and the design of the speaker system.  When a church does get the right acoustical system or if the acoustical system is built in, those churches get over 85% performance out of their sound systems, even when using just entry level professional live sound equipment. Churches that have the right room shape that is within the Golden Ratio, they usually get a performance level over 90% out of their equipment with the right acoustical management system.

An example of system performance would be in how much gain before feedback there is.  In one church, they had so much gain before feedback after their church had an acoustical change, that during a children’s play, one child was helping another child who was struggling with their lines.  The nearest microphone was over 9 feet away.  The sound operator was able to raise the gain to where you could hear both children.  This in itself was no big deal but it was huge to the parents listening to the play.  They loved what they heard.  When the parents could hear the one child coaching the other with their lines, it was a great example how people need to encourage each other and work together.  Both children were complimented for their performances. The parents felt included in all of the things happening on stage.

In most churches, experiences like this never happen.  Instead, most parent complain that they couldn’t hear their child or the other kids, or get upset with the sound guys for not having enough microphones for them, or get upset with the Sunday School teacher for not teaching the kids how to use microphones.  The performance of a sound system can make the difference between having a blessing and hearing the message or being so distracted that persons leaves upset and any message given is totally missed.

In another example, a church had floor monitors that were so loud that the main speaker system couldn’t be used without blasting everyone in the audience.  The monitors are almost as loud at the back of the church as well as up front.  The worship team switched from floor monitors to in ear monitors.  At first it seemed to work.  However, if you were sitting in the front 5 rows of seating, the sound coverage was poor in about 70% of the seating.  Before, the floor monitor spill helped to fill in the coverage of the shortcoming of the main speaker system design. After getting the in ear monitors, the church went through 3 speaker systems and 3 different speaker system layout designs. The coverage issues never were resolved, even with loudspeakers recessed in the front of the stage on delays and the whole ten yards.  The shape of the church didn’t help either.

Eventually, the church had to fix their acoustics because those front 5 rows of seating were always 80% occupied and that is where the Pastor’s wife always sat.  With sound coverage issues resolved, the acoustical fix also resolved a boat load of problems including monitor spill. The acoustical fix made it possible for the worship team to go back to using floor monitors months later.  The church was only a 500 seat space and over a 6 year period they spent over $200,000 on just speakers, processors, amplifiers and mixers.  the acoustical fix was only $4,000.  Had the church addressed the acoustics first, they would have had an extra $150,000 invested into other programs or missions or helping church growth and health.  Many churches are going through this process today.

A lot of churches just keep taking the “Blue pill.”  Churches with money keep turning to esoteric audio hardware and hope that physics will take a back seat to the latest technology and software to help them. For churches that don’t have the funds, they just put up with bad sound and for some, declining or very high turnovers in attendance.

For those churches that take the “Red pill,” they spend way less on sound equipment and have systems sounding and performing in ways other churches can only dream about.  These same churches have more enthusiastic congregational singing, better sound teams and almost zero complaints about the sound, even when the sound system is keeping up with a congregation singing over 95dB!  Some Worship team member find that their talents improve.  Ministers find that more people are paying attention and are asking questions or commenting on the weekly sermons through the week.

The choice is yours.  Taking the “Blue pill” means one kind of outcome down the rabbit hole where magic is not real and taking the “Red pill” gives a different result.  The thing is, there is no downside to taking the “Red pill” but there is for taking the “Blue pill.”

By Joseph De Buglio

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: